South Africa: Police van reverses into new Mandela bust

The bust of Nelson Mandela outside South Africa's parliament in Cape Town Image copyright Getty Images

A police van has reversed into a bust of South Africa's Nelson Mandela, unveiled just days ago outside the country's parliament in Cape Town, it's been reported.

The tribute to the country's former leader, who died in December, was unveiled by President Jacob Zuma on Monday at a ceremony attended by Mandela family members, former president FW de Klerk and other dignitaries, the Mail and Guardian newspaper reports. But a police minibus reversed into it on Wednesday morning, leaving it with dents and scratches to the left shoulder and it had to be removed.

The incident happened in daylight in an area open only to official vehicles, parliamentary security staff say. One witness says the driver was "very remorseful. He was crying and apologising."

The bust, which is over 2m (6 ft) high on its plinth, has been repaired and is back in its place outside parliament less than a day later, the paper says. Contractors who made the base say they were not told to put protective bollards around it, the News24 website says. But steps will now be taken "to minimise future risk of damage to the bust", a parliamentary statement says. Earlier this year the South African government ordered sculptors to remove a rabbit hidden in the ear of another Mandela statue, saying it was necessary to "restore dignity" to the monument.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The bust was unveiled by Mandela's grandson Mandla Mandela and President Jacob Zuma

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